Catcher in the Rye

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Nicole Fievet
C.P. English 11
Mrs. Wright
November 2, 2010
When someone is young, they tend to have innocence about them. As children grow up, they no longer possess this natural innocence. Exposure to all of the hatred in the world causes this loss. Holden Caulfield realizes this simple fact, as he himself grows up, and has a difficult time with the change. He experiences problems with communication as well as his school work. A common theme used throughout The Catcher in the Rye has to do with contradictions Holden makes. In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, first person point of view is used to highlight contradictions Holden makes throughout the novel.

Holden’s first contradiction becomes clear in the first few chapters of the book. When it comes to attending movies, he claims that he does not enjoy the company of Robert Ackley or going to see movies. Yet, he attends a show with Ackley. On Friday night, while Stradlater was on a date with Jane, Holden made his own plans. Holden, Mal Brossard, and Ackley went out for a burger and a movie. “… decided we’d take a bus into Agerstown and have a hamburger and maybe see a lousy movie.”(36) Due to the use of first person point of view, we find out Holden’s inner thoughts instead of just relying on his actions. Also, later on in the novel, Holden goes to yet another movie, despite his claim of not enjoying them. While in the theater, he becomes extremely annoyed with the woman sitting next to him. She cried throughout the entire movie over, in Holden’s words, phony stuff. “… there was a lady sitting next to me that cried all through the goddam picture. The phonier it got, the more she cried.”(139) We learn about Holden’s inner thoughts because of first person point of view.

We can find another contradiction dealing with Holden’s hatred of movies. When he attends the first movie, he goes with Robert Ackley, despite the fact that Holden previously told us that he dislikes him. Holden says that he finds...
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